December 4, 2022

The Interpretation of Cause and Matter’ under Article 136 and Article 142

Article 136

Article 136 is a power to appeal in the apex court, which can be filed by any person against any judgment or order of any Court or tribunal in the territory of India.

Supreme Court had occasion to point out that Article 136 is worded in the widest terms possible. It vests in the Supreme Court a plenary jurisdiction in the matter of entertaining and hearing of appeals by granting special save against any kind of judgment or order made by a Court or Tribunal in by cause of matter and the powers can be exercised in spite of the limitations under the specific provisions for appeal contained in the Constitution other laws.

The powers given by Article 136 are, however, in the nature special or residuary powers which are exercisable outside the purview of the ordinary laws in cases where the needs of justice demand interference the Supreme Court.[1]

Article 142

Article 142 also gives the power to supreme Court to do complete justice in any cause or matter.

Article 142 (1) of the Constitution provides:

“142 (1) The Supreme Court in exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.”

Meaning of Cause and Matter

The expression “cause or matter” in Article 142 (1) is very wide covering almost every kind of proceedings in Court.

In Halsbury’s Laws of England-Fourth Edition [vol 37] para 22 referring to the plenitude of that expression it is stated:

Cause or matter– The words “cause and “matter” are often used in juxtaposition, but they have different meanings. “cause” means any action or any criminal proceedings and “matter” means any proceedings in court not in a cause. When used together, the words “cause or matter” cover almost every kind of proceeding in court, whether civil or criminal, whether interlocutory or final, and whether before or after judgment.”

In ‘Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India, 1991’, the Supreme Court said,

“Any limited interpretation of the expression “cause or matter’ having regard to the wide and sweeping powers under Article 136 which Article 142 (1) seeks to effectuate, limiting it only to the short compass of the actual dispute before the Court and not to what might necessarily and reasonably be connected with or related to such matter in such a way that their withdrawal to the Apex Court would enable the court to do “complete justice”, would stultify the very wide constitutional powers.”


[1] Durga Shankar Mehta v. Thaiair Raghuraj singh & Others [1955] S.C.R. 267